Rak Škocjan

Rak Škocjan (Slovene: 'Rakov Škocjan'; pronounced [ˈɾaːkɔu̯ ˈʃkɔːtsjan]) is a valley and a landscape park, part of Inner Carniola Regional Park in southwestern Slovenia. Administratively, it belongs to the settlement of Rakov Škocjan. Rak Škocjan has been protected since 1949 and is the oldest landscape park in Slovenia.


There are two natural bridges in Rak Škocjan, Little Natural Bridge (Slovene: Mali naravni most) and about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) downstream, to the west, Big Natural Bridge (Slovene: Veliki naravni most). Rak Creek traverses the valley and enters Weaver's Cave at its western side. It does not emerge again until it has reached Italy, where it is called the Timavo.[1] Above the valley, in the vicinity of Big Natural Bridge, stand the ruins of St. Cantianus's Church, built in the early 17th century in the late Gothic style.[2] This area is also an Iron Age archaeological site.[3]

The valley itself is enclosed on all sides by sheer cliffs, which can reach as high as 300 m (980 ft).[1]


The name Rakov Škocjan literally means 'Škocjan on Rak Creek'. Like other places named Škocjan, the name is a contraction of *šent Kǫcьjanъ 'Saint Cantianus', referring to the patron saint of the local church.[4] The valley shares its name with the settlement of Rakov Škocjan.

See also


  1. Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 312. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  2. Savnik, Roman, ed. 1968. Krajevni leksikon Slovenije, vol. 1. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, p. 53.
  3. "9251: Rakov Škocjan - Arheološko najdišče sv. Kancijan" [9251: Rak Škocjan – St. Cantianus Archaeological Site]. Register nepremične kulturne dediščine [Registry of Immovable Cultural Heritage] (in Slovenian). Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, p. 413.

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